Professor seeks student perspective on the smoke-free policy at Cal State Fullerton

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Speaker presents powerpoint on CSUF as a smoke-free campus
(Diane Ortiz / Daily Titan)

“Smoke-free campus” signs border Cal State Fullerton’s grounds, but students and faculty can find smoked cigarette butts littered all over the floor.

CSUF became smoke free in 2013, when former President Willie J. Hagan signed a smoking ban into effect in May 2012. Former President Mildred García revised it in 2013 to include cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes and vapors). No penalties have been included in the written ban.

Shana Charles, Ph.D., assistant professor of health science, said it is usually faculty and staff that are concerned about the lack of penalties written in the ban and want to see more disciplinary actions included in the policy.

Charles led a “Faculty Noon-Time Talk” on Monday afternoon titled “Evaluating the Smoking Ban at CSU Fullerton: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Future Directions,” which echoed Dinger’s concerns about enforcement mechanisms.

Tyler Dinger, a business major, said he’s been smoking since age 16. He agrees with having a smoke-free campus, but said he disagrees with potentially citing individuals that are caught breaking the ban on campus.

I think they should have resources to help people quit. Ticketing people isn’t going to do anything, it’s just going to make people angry and it’s just going to create more of a hassle,” Dinger said.

Because the policy is now under a 2017 chancellor’s executive order for smoke-free campuses systemwide, CSUF might not be able to create punishments without a waver from the chancellor’s office, Charles said.

There are no educational campaigns, outreach programs or promotion of tobacco cessation treatment options as of yet, which is something Charles said CSUF’s Fresh Air Advocates want to work on.

Charles said her research will focus on the students’ perspective of the ban, and will be conducted through surveys gauging student input on the strengths and weaknesses of the policy.

She said she hopes the outcomes could result in more resources for CSUF, without the need of policing students.

“The idea is trying to promote being a good person as opposed to punishing being a bad person,” Charles said.

Dinger echoed that sentiment.

I think if you create an environment where you encourage people to help them quit, rather than punishing them for it, I think that’d be a lot better,” Dinger said.

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